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Folding Bikes Discuss the unique features and issues of folding bikes. Also a great place to learn what folding bike will work best for your needs.

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Old 08-18-08, 07:41 AM   #1
cachaca
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FAST/Light folding bike

Hello,

I am looking for your opinion. I am a roadie who travels for work often. On various trips I have rented bikes, but it is time I take my own.

I first fell in love with the Dahon SpeedProTT:
Speedprott

But I have always been enamored with Downtube. The 9NS is fairly light (at 24lbs naked):
9NS

The other 2 bikes that I like are:
Giant Halfway
and
Citizen GOTHAM

Any comments/suggestions are welcome.

I want a lightweight(25lbs or less), reasonably fast (cruising at 20MPH), and affordable (sub $800) folding bike. Is that doable? (I don't mind getting my hands dirty either)
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Old 08-18-08, 08:00 AM   #2
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Hi, Some folders are better at traveling than others, so when you go on your trips how do you travel, car, train, plane ? when you get to where you're going what kind of cycling do you do there ? It all amke a difference as to what is the best bike for you.

The Dahon is a performance bike, Giant and the Citizen aren't, the Downtube probably iwouldn't be considered a performance bike in stock form, but with work it could probably be made more than acceptable.

I'd have thought one of the Dahon Mu range would have been a good option, certainly far closer to what you say your looking for that the giant or the Citizen.
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Old 08-18-08, 08:37 AM   #3
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+1

My first fast folder ride was the SpeedPro TT - Very nice. I was immediately converted to the fold!!
That said, the DT 9NS, at that price point has alot of room for upgrading (for lightness) before reaching the price of the SpeedPro.

Also, I don't ride one (yet?), but others may also suggest Xootr Swift.

Last edited by porschetoyz; 08-18-08 at 08:45 AM. Reason: better answer
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Old 08-18-08, 09:04 AM   #4
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MU SL under 20 pounds but around $1000
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Old 08-18-08, 09:54 AM   #5
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Thank you for the suggestions guys...
The speedpro is the most impressive (IMHO), but I am surprised that they elected to use that dualdrive rear hub. They could probably have saved 4lbs right there.

HOWEVER, given the huge price difference between the Dahon SpeedPro ($1300) and the alternatives (as low as $200 for the Kent), I am inclined to get the cheaper bike and upgrade it to my specs. I can't imagine having to spend more then $400 in parts to any of the cheaper bikes here. The Downtube seems to have the best parts of the bunch (of cheap bikes), while the Kent has the worst.

Thoughts???
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Old 08-18-08, 10:05 AM   #6
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Dahon Mu P8

+1

Dahon Mu P8 is a great choice IMHO.... i have found the 2007 model for $465.... couldn't be happier
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Old 08-18-08, 10:16 AM   #7
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Downtube or Mu or as porschetoyz suggested: take a look at the swift which comes in your budget 699,- is 22lbs and also, if you want to put your own parts, can be taken as "frame only"

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Old 08-18-08, 10:40 AM   #8
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The Downtube NS is shorter frame. Wheelbase is about 39", or 3 or 4 inches shorter than a road bike and even other folders. How tall are you? I'd be concerned about cockpit room and stability under speed.

I am a roadie also and had previously bought an NS for the same reason as you.

The Downtube Front Suspension was a nice frame. If you swapped out the front fork which is very heavy and not necessary for road riding, then upgrade the drivetrain, you'd have a very good bike. This is what I did.

This was taken before I swapped out the front suspension forks.


SRAM X.7 drivetrain off eBay. Great upgrade for low cost:
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Old 08-18-08, 11:09 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cachaca View Post
Thank you for the suggestions guys...
The speedpro is the most impressive (IMHO), but I am surprised that they elected to use that dualdrive rear hub. They could probably have saved 4lbs right there.

HOWEVER, given the huge price difference between the Dahon SpeedPro ($1300) and the alternatives (as low as $200 for the Kent), I am inclined to get the cheaper bike and upgrade it to my specs. I can't imagine having to spend more then $400 in parts to any of the cheaper bikes here. The Downtube seems to have the best parts of the bunch (of cheap bikes), while the Kent has the worst.

Thoughts???

If you want to avoid the Dual Drive -- I did too -- you should check out ThorUSA.com for the Dahon front derailer mount. Although I think that you are over estimating the effect of the Dual Drive. I believe that relative to a derailer drivetrain, you are ony adding 1.0 - 1.5 pounds in weight. You might suffer from a small efficiency penalty too. But still small in the grand scheme of things.

Alternatively, you can go Downtube. From the standpoint of upgrading other than price -- I figure that you can add as well as I can -- the Downtube has a standard front hub whereas the Dahon has a 74mm width hub. Other than that, I think that upgrading either bike is straightforward.

Of course, once you cross the $1K barrier you are starting to get into Bike Friday territory. I have noticed an increase in the number of people selling used bikes on the YAK group. But I agree that with a good eye for bargains you can upgrade a Downtube for less than that.
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Old 08-18-08, 04:13 PM   #10
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I'd put a vote in for the MUs as well - they are a combination of light weight, speed and practical folding. Also, you won't need to do anything to them. Have a look at the Hammerhead/Smoothhound if you want to go flat rather than small fold. If only they'd released the Hammerhead/Smoothhound separable I would go for one of those!
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Old 08-18-08, 04:26 PM   #11
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A word about gear range: A typical roadie has a gear range of under 300%. A 11-34T cassette has a range of 309%. So if you're willing to forego some closer steps between gears, a 11-34T or 11-32T cassette will give you the range you're used to without resorting to a front derailer or Dualdrive.

To get gear-inches aproaching a roadie's you will need to install a 60T chainring for 32-100" gears. So you can go with a simpler drivetrain and save the weight of the dualdrive.

Alternatively the Capreo 9-26T cassette plus a normal sized chainring gives you the same, but then you will need to get a bike with that hub on it, and because it's so special, there is no choice and smaller cogs are less efficient.

See my sig for my Swift. Doesn't fold very small viewed from the side, but has a small folded footprint so takes less floor space than a folded Dahon when leaned against a wall, and it's light (8.5kg presently), fast and accelerates like a scalded cat. You could fit drops and besides the lively responsiveness, you wouldn't even know you were riding a folder. It has one of the stiffest frames available, stiffer even than a lot of roadies.
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Old 08-18-08, 08:10 PM   #12
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Thank you so much guys. Lot's of great suggestions. I will update the thread once I make my decision and the wheeled beauty appears on my doorstep.

Cheers!
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Old 08-19-08, 05:38 AM   #13
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Kinda late for an advice, but whatever you do, stay away from Giant Halfway. No room for upgrade whatsoever there.
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Old 08-19-08, 06:20 AM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cachaca View Post
HOWEVER, given the huge price difference between the Dahon SpeedPro ($1300) and the alternatives (as low as $200 for the Kent), I am inclined to get the cheaper bike and upgrade it to my specs. I can't imagine having to spend more then $400 in parts to any of the cheaper bikes here. The Downtube seems to have the best parts of the bunch (of cheap bikes), while the Kent has the worst.

Thoughts???
Just remember, not all frames are of the same design / manufacturing quality, the difference in price isn't just down to the difference in quality of upgradeable parts. No point in putting $400 of nice gear on a duff frame.
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Old 08-20-08, 04:17 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cachaca View Post
Thank you for the suggestions guys...
The speedpro is the most impressive (IMHO), but I am surprised that they elected to use that dualdrive rear hub. They could probably have saved 4lbs right there.


Thoughts???

Quote from the SRAM DualDrive manual..


I BELIEVE A DUAL-
DRIVE SYSTEM HAS
TO BE HEAVIER THAN
A NORMAL EXTERNAL
DRIVE SYSTEM!


In fact the DualDrive system weighs
around 250 gr less than a standard
derailleur drive train system.

Last edited by BruceMetras; 08-20-08 at 05:34 PM.
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Old 08-20-08, 04:51 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceMetras View Post
Quote from the SRAM DualDrive manual..


I BELIEVE A DUAL-
DRIVE SYSTEM HAS
TO BE HEAVIER THAN
A NORMAL EXTERNAL
DRIVE SYSTEM!


In fact the DualDrive system weighs
around 250 gr less than a standard
derailleur drive train system
.
Bruce:

With all due respect to your considerable experience with folders, I'm finding this hard to buy into. I've had a DualDrive, and found it to be heavy.

I looked up the DualDrive specs - the weight of the hub alone is 1067grams. A "regular" hub is 400 grams or so? Assuming the same derailleur and cassette, how would the SRAM system be lighter than a standard derailleur system?
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Old 08-20-08, 05:09 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SesameCrunch View Post
Bruce:

With all due respect to your considerable experience with folders, I'm finding this hard to buy into. I've had a DualDrive, and found it to be heavy.

I looked up the DualDrive specs - the weight of the hub alone is 1067grams. A "regular" hub is 400 grams or so? Assuming the same derailleur and cassette, how would the SRAM system be lighter than a standard derailleur system?
Hey fellow Moultoneer... that's not my quote.. it's SRAM's .. but I would imagine their interpretation of a "standard derailleur drive train system" would be for a 'comparable' gear range system.. much like a MTB's 3 chain ring affair... extra chainwheels, extra shifter, extra FD...etc... factoring in all the bits, I could imagine a DualDrive as a lighter package.. don't forget the pootlepics...
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Old 08-20-08, 10:45 PM   #18
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My NWT with a DD weighs 1 lb more than it would have had I opted for a front triple instead.
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